Re-touching 5" x 4" Negatives
I have just bought some Biebrich Scarlet (5 grams) which I understand is used for touching up pinholes and similar defects on negs.
It arrived with no instructions and as a red powder. I was wondering whether any one has experience of using it? What sort of dilutions or mixes are best? Is it best to apply to the emulsion side of the neg? Any other general recommondations people may have would be much appreciated.
Thanking you all in advance.
Retouching is an art to say the least. I have an Adams retouching machine, which helps a lot, but it still isn’t easy. I haven’t used the powder product you mention so I can’t help you there. I would think mixing it like watercolor would work but I don’t really know.
It depends a bit on the film, but you can retouch on either side. It would seam that if you work on the back, you could wash it off if you mess up, but I have never been able to wash it off successfully. I think some of the dye soaks into the film and won’t come out. Anyway, whatever you do, experiment on scrap negatives until you are sure of your technique. You need a very good, very small brush, a bright light box and a good magnifying glass mounted on an adjustable stand or jewelers glasses. With the red dye, you have no way to match the tone so all you can do is turn the spot into a white spot on the print that you can spot to match the print tone later.
Depending on how big the pinhole is, a lot of times it is easier to etch the paper with a curved exacto blade or bleach back after printing, because as you will find, you can only go so small with anything on a brush without it actually being much bigger on the print (depending on enlargement of course) that is easy to spot back in. I've never used power either...Kodak used to make a paste type of red for retouching and between that, graphite pencils to fix lines on peoples faces and spot tone, and the etching and bleaching, I could get most anything done. I'd try to mix it up starting with as little water as possible. You want it to be kind of like an old style liquid, white glue...
You want it to be kind of like an old style liquid, white glue...
Well, if this is equivalent to Crocein Scarlet as formerly offered by Kodak, you want it to be a pretty thin solution. It is much better suited to making delicate tonal changes to fairly large areas; pinholes are probably best treated by pricking or scratching the film base (and spotting back on the print if necessary), and tiny spots like freckles yield more gracefully to pencil retouching.
On FP4, anyway, the dye can be removed by a long wash in plain water; I've done this repeatedly so that I could experiment with different effects on the same (reject) negative. It will probably not work well on the non-emulsion side, since it is water-soluble and requires a gelatin layer for even absorption.
I'm not sure if my reference is the Crocein Scarlet you are talking about or not. What I was refering to was the Kodak Red retouching "paste" that was pretty thick and hard to work with without diluting with water.
And you must be good..I'd never etch a neg just to retouch back on the print. I prefer to etch (or bleach) the print, and only the exact area needed unlike on a neg, then retouching back in. But that must be personal preference.
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The thick red past from Kodak was never intended for continous tone negatives. Known as opaqe it is used on large litho negatives in stripping departments of the printing industry. Kodak also made a black Opaque for the same use.
Some preferred the red others the black. Both did exactly the same thing when applied to the negative, that was to block light.
Etching a negative is very simple to do. Sharpen a small needle and insert into an Exacto
handle. (one with the X collet) place the point of the needle in the center of the spot *(Pinhole) then carefully move it a bit to sctatch over the pin hole. Any scratch on the base side of a negative will print white. Any scratch on the emulsion side of the film will always show up as black in the print. Another very quick and easy is to use a new #11 Exacto
blade in a handle. Place the point lightly in the center of the pin hole (base side) then lightl twist the handle in a 360 degree circle. This creates a small white spot in the print which can eaisly be spotted out.
Last edited by Charles Webb; 05-16-2008 at 06:07 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: To add additional information.